Saturday, September 17, 2011

ATLANTApix: Water Dream Evaporating

Water Dream at MODA
Water Dream at MODA
The Museum of Design Atlanta's (MODA) Water Dream exhibition has been absolutely phenomenal. And this is the final weekend to see it.

I posted on the MODA Facebook account just yesterday (after they reminded us that Water Dream is coming to an end) how great it's been to see how they've uniquely shined the spotlight of artistry on a subject that most of us see as "functional." 

Lesson learned: Anything can be art, everything has design.

Although saddened to see Water Dream evaporate, even after making such a great splash, I'm excited about the upcoming exhibitions opening on Sunday, October 2, 2011...all three of them!

The other two are rather sobering, but terribly important, even after so many year. One of the two is a rotating display of The AIDS Memorial Quilt. Rotating monthly during the exhibition, several of the 40,000 panels will be on display.

Mo'Duck Helping Out
As with all the exhibits I've seen MODA produce, I'm certain these will be incredible, thought-provoking, and absolutely amazing examples of design for every enthusiast.

So, be sure to catch Water Dream this weekend if you've not yet seen it. And I'm told that we probably haven't seen the last of Mo'Duck, MODA's Water Dream mascot...quite the adventurous little red rubber duckie!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Friday, September 16, 2011

ATLANTApix: Deer

Deer by Frizt Zimmer, Atlanta Botanical Garden
"Deer" by Fritz Zimmer, Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is filled with more than flowers, plants, and trees. There is an absolutely incredible collection of art throughout the Garden. And it's placed in such a way that makes the discovery process great fun.

One of my favorite pieces is "Deer" by Fritz Paul Zimmer, an artist and sculptor from Germany. Deer is on an extended loan from Atlanta's High Museum of Art.

"Discovered" while exploring the Southern Seasons Garden, very near the Hardin Visitors Center, Deer is a endearing find (and a great photo-op). This particular garden focuses on local plants and features plants and flowers that bloom every season of the year. It's particularly beautiful in the spring, but a must-see througout the year.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quartz and Other Minerals at the Tellus Science Museum
Before visiting Tellus Science Museum earlier this year, I'd forgotten that not all quartz is clear. Was I ever reminded! In their minerals exhibit, I saw quartz in varying shades of green, yellow, pink, and bright orange, several examples of which are in this display (photo).

Having a fascination with spheres that goes back to my earliest art classes, I was enthralled with the way Tellus displays quite a few of their sphere format. Some of their specimens are the size of bowling balls and a couple are as big as the crystal ball in the Wizard of Oz.

Tellus is a fascinating place to visit. They take learning to a whole new level...a level that includes a lot of fun.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ATLANTApix: 1,000,000 Pagodas

Wooden Pagoda that Held a Japanese Paper Prayer
Wooden Pagoda that Held a Japanese Paper Prayer
One of Atlanta's hidden treasures is the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, which houses exhibit after exhibit of the history of paper making. Imagine a world with zero paper and you'll immediately realize the undeniable significance of this particular museum.

One displayed factoid, that I personally find absolutely amazing, is one of the very first examples of Japanese printing on paper. 

In 770 A. D. (a very, very, very long time ago!), a royal decree by Empress Shotoku ordered the printing of 1,000,000 paper prayers—the Hyakumanto dharani—many of which survive today.

That's fascinating in and of itself, but...each of the 1,000,000 paper prayers were enshrined in their own wooden pagoda (photo). Mind-blowing, right?

That's the kind of museum this is. And it's saturated with fascinating information about the earliest papers to modern paper making. It'll make you want to go home and write someone a letter...on paper! And when was the last time you did that?

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ATLANTAvidz: Dolphins on Parade

Peppered with Social Media icons, emblazoned with jellyfish, and covered in pink disco mirror ball squares, the Dolphins on Parade are an eclectic pod.

On display throughout Atlanta, primarily at Centennial Olympic Park, Downtown, Midtown, Grant Park, and Atlantic Station, the nearly 50 dolphins parading around town have created buzz for Georgia Aquarium's new AT&T Dolphin Tales exhibition and provided funding for its sponsored admissions program, primarily for school children.

Several of the Dolphins on Parade are on display immediately outside Georgia Aquarium, including one dressed in an Atlanta Falcons football jersey bearing the signatures of all the team players and owner Arthur Blank. That's one dolphin that is certain to be a favorite in the upcoming auction during the Aquarium's annual event, Aqua Vino.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Monday, September 12, 2011

ATLANTApix: Is That Dome Real Gold?

Georgia State Capitol Building
Georgia State Capitol Building
One of the most commonly asked questions of Atlanta architecture is specific to one of our most remarkable and easily identified landmarks...the Georgia State Capitol Building, specifically, its gold dome. Is the dome made of real gold?

The answer is of course, "Yes." But it wasn't always gold. It was originally white (1889) and many years after construction it was gilded in gold leaf (1958).

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ATLANTApix: The Original Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear at Bulloch Hall
Teddy Bear at Bulloch Hall
The creation of the Teddy Bear was inspired by an act of compassion by President Theodore Roosevelt

In 1902, the President traveled to Mississippi for a hunt where a small bear had been captured. When he arrived, he refused to shoot the bear. A famous cartoonist published a depiction of the incident in the Washington Post.

As the story goes, Morris and Rose Michtom, novelty store owners in Brooklyn, New York, were so impressed with the President's act of compassion that they created a stuffed bear to sell in their shop and wrote to ask the President for permission to call the creation "Teddy's Bear." 

The President responded in the affirmative and the Teddy Bear has been enjoyed by countless children and Teddy Bear enthusiasts since.

An early original Teddy Bear is today part of the Smithsonian Institution's collection. This replica (photo) resides in Bulloch Hall, the childhood home of Mittie Bulloch, mother of Teddy Roosevelt. Bulloch Hall is in Roswell, Georgia, just northwest of Atlanta.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

ATLANTApix: Chihuly in the Garden

Chihuly Sculpture in the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Chihuly Sculpture in the Atlanta Botanical Garden
"Chocolate Covered Weekend" is now! Head over to the Atlanta Botanical Garden for a full two days of chocolate inspired events, learning activities, and tastes. 

"Stop by the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen where Atlanta chocolatiers and pastry chefs whip up decadent treats or enjoy chocolate games and crafts with the family. Visit the cacao tree where it all begins and discover more about the chocolate making process."

And of course while you're there, check out both of the Dale Chihuly sculptures. This one (photo) is in the Parterre Garden and the other is hanging in the Hardin Visitors Center.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Friday, September 9, 2011

ATLANTApix: The Leaning Tower of Power

Georgia Power Headquarters
Georgia Power Headquarters
The 24-story, black glass, corporate headquarters building for Georgia Power in downtown Atlanta is often called "The Leaning Tower of Power." The catalyst of this playful moniker was one of the building's unique energy-saving features. On the building's southern facade, each floor protrudes, or cantilevers, farther outward by 15 inches than the floor above it.

The energy savings come from when in summer the sun is high in the sky, each extension partially shades the windows below them and in winter, when the sun is lower in the southern sky, it shines directly into the windows which helps to heat the space.

Additionally, an experimental solar energy project was also part of the building's original design (rooftop) when it was built in 1980, but was unfortunately, that program was discontinued not too many years after it was launched due to excessive cost.

A one-of-a-kind building in the Atlanta skyline, she's often used as a landmark and she's definitely a building that every local immediately recognizes.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ATLANTApix: Moon "Over" Atlanta

The Moon, at Fernbank Science Center
The Moon, Fernbank Science Center
School is back in session which means that a lot of kids will be heading to the Fernbank Science Center to study astronomy, including Earth's moon (photo), as well as geology, animals, plant life, space travel, and an entire host of other scientific subjects...all potential for wondrous discoveries.

The Center is also open to the general public, lucky for us! This particular moon (photo), which hangs just inside the entrance to the Fernbank Planetarium, part of the Fernbank Science Center, is one of hundreds of models throughout the Center that serve as learning tools.

It just so happens that the Fernbank Science Center is part of the Dekalb County School System, so it's perfectly suited for educating our well as our adults and tourists of all ages.

And remember, the Fernbank Observatory is open to the public on Thursday and Friday nights (weather permitting) for a free viewing of the night sky from 9:00 p.m. until approximately 10:30 p.m.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ATLANTAvidz: High's Modern by Design

Here's a quick peek at some incredible art...absolutely amazing stuff that you end up missing when the "I kept meaning to go" creeps into your excuses repertoire.

This particular exhibition, hosted at the High Museum of Art, "Modern by Deisgn," featured "nearly 150 objects created by over 120 of the most influential artists and designers of the twentieth century" were included.

Atlanta has so many incredible sights, exhibits, much to see and do. Take advantage of what's in your own back yard. And remember that you'd don't have to wait until next spring or summer...there's plenty to do now!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

ATLANTApix: Carlos Mummy

Mummy at the Michael C. Carlos Museum
Mummy at the Michael C. Carlos Museum
I woke up to even more rain this morning, which, as a tourist, makes me think, "What's something fun to do inside?" Well, let's see. Rain...water...river...Nile...Egypt...Michael C. Carlos Museum of Art! Done.

If you can't make it to the Carlos Museum today, you'll definitely want to add it to your list of things-to-do for this weekend. Opening on Saturday, September 10, 2011, "Life and Death in the Pyramid Age: The Emory Old Kingdom Mummy" exhibition will feature the oldest Egyptian mummy in the Western Hemisphere. (This photo is of one of the mummies on permanent display)

The Emory Old Kingdom Mummy was discovered by Emory professor William Shelton in 1920 and is currently being used to study the still not well understood practice of mummification.

This incredibly remarkable specimen is rarely seen by the public, so I recommend making time between now and December 11, 2011, to see it.

So, there's a great idea for something to do on a rainy Tuesday in Atlanta and something to look forward to for the coming weekend. 

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dragon*Con Parade 2011

The 25th Dragon*Con has come and gone as has the 10th Annual Dragon*Con Parade. long as there's an Internet (or some iteration of it), there will always be memories of the great times had. This year's Parade was exceptional for several reasons.

First and foremost, getting to experience it with friends makes it a lot more fun, even if I have to grovel apologetically to said friends for being totally engrossed in the Parade, to the point of completely ignoring them so I could make photos and video. 

I promised a couple of my friends that I would hire a photographer next year and actually enjoy the Parade with them. We'll see how that works out...

Batman Saves the Day!
Batman Saves the Day!
The Paradees (is that a word?) showcased, quite well, the genres represented at the Con. There was everything from Star Trek to Star Wars, from Steampunk to Steampunk X-Men (a very cool surprise!), and superheroes to villains.

There were cars, motorcycles, aliens, at least a legion of Stormtroopers, celebrities, dragons, thousands of onlookers, princesses, robots, Cylons, time machines, and at least one flying monkey!

Jedi Knights
Jedi Knights
My absolutely favorite part of the Parade was this super cute 4 or 5 year old on the other side of me who kept yelling to the parade participants. To one she yelled, "I love you, Rainbow" (to a brightly colored character that I wasn't familiar with, but she obviously was). "I love your color," she yelled to a Star Wars character highlighted in pink.

But the grand prize was her very enthusiastic, loud greeting when Chewbacca walked by..."Hello, Big Foot!" I laughed so hard, in great delight and admiration for her cognitive skills, that I had to stop videotaping because my laughter was shaking the camera so. 

That little Dragon*Con enthusiast was pure delight.

Visiting Dragon*Con

Date toured: Friday-Monday, September 2-5, 2011
Hours: Continuous
Location: Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta Hilton & Towers, Atlanta Sheraton, and Westin Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta
Parking: multiple downtown public parking garages and hotel garages, rates vary
MARTA: any station near the host hotels


AECOM Building in Midtown Atlanta
AECOM Building in Midtown Atlanta
One of the things that I love—yes, I said and fully mean "love"—about authoring tourATLANTA is the learning process. True, I've learned about blogging and Social Media while creating posts, but I'm referring to learning more about Atlanta...and exponentially so!

For example: I've walked by, drove by, and dined across the street from the AECOM Building countless times, but I never knew what they did until I decided to feature them on tourATLANTA. (This particular photo is of their Midtown Atlanta office, reflecting The Peachtree Building)

Not only did I learn what building this is (yet another), I learned about an incredibly interesting company. A company that employs 45,000 people in more than 125 countries—now, that's impressive. 

And what they do is even more impressive. To borrow from their website:

"AECOM is a global leader in providing fully integrated professional technical and management support services for a broad range of markets. From transportation, energy and water systems, to enhancing environments and creating new buildings and communities, our vision is to make the world a better place."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Reading about their projects is mesmerizing. Their work is relative not only to current issues, but those yet to come to fruition. And their focus is global and all-encompassing. This company is one that I will keep a very close eye on...out of excitement for how they will change the world in which we live.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

ATLANTApix: Dragon*Con Costumes

Dragon*Con Costumes
Dragon*Con Costumes
Costumes, costumes, costumes, and more of the most popular attractions of Dragon*Con, taking place now in downtown Atlanta, is the opportunity to score photos with some of one's favorite sci-fi, fantasy, television, and other celebrities (or extremely close approximations by a number of conventioneers) from popular culture, and a few subcultures.

Other photo ops include photographs with the likes of Kate Mulgrew, Tricia Helfer, and Sam Witwer, from Star Trek: Voyager, Battlestar Galactica, and Being Human, respectively.

The 25th Annual Dragon*Con is taking place now in downtown Atlanta through Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2011.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

ATLANTApix: Coastal States Building

Coastal States Building
Coastal States Building
Quick to prove that Atlanta's designation as a "city of glass" is not at all new, the Coastal States Building, sometimes called the Coastal States Insurance Building, brings attention to the fact that it was in actually erected in 1971...40 years ago!

I myself have been guilty of saying that Atlanta has become a city of glass as of recent years, but the more I explore, the more I realize that glass buildings have been a significant part of the Atlanta skyline for many, many years. Maybe the development spurt of the 70s, with all the cement buildings of that decade, skewed my perception...or I was too busy noticing all the new buildings and not the ones I've known for years.

Centennial Tower is a prime example. A building that just by looking at it you would think was a relatively recent addition to the city. Not quite. It was constructed in 1975. And the world-famous Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, the 73-story glass was built in 1973. 

So, as it turns out, I was totally off in my assumption. I should have said that "even more stunning stems have been added to the city-of-glass bouquet that we know as Atlanta."

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Friday, September 2, 2011

ATLANTApix: Samuel Spencer

Samuel Spencer
Samuel Spencer
Remember that Atlanta was originally a railroad town, long before she was ever a convention town. Nestled in a tight little corner of the 12-story David R. Goode Building at 1200 Peachtree Street is an elegant sandstone and bronze statue erected to one of the city's railroad pioneers.

Samuel Spencer today is remembered as the first President of Southern Railway Company, one who made remarkable achievements. The unique statue's engraved sentiment reads:

Samuel Spencer
1847 - 1906

A Georgian, A Confederate Soldier, and the First President of the Southern Railway Company. Erected by the Employees of that Company.

Most statues are erected by governments or enthusiast groups. I believe this is the first statue I've ever encountered that was erected by an employee group. He must have been one an amazing boss!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

ATLANTAvidz: ATLANTApix of August 2011

tourATLANTA's August 2011 photos-of-the-day, ATLANTApix, are so incredibly different, the only thing that ties them together is that they're all made in Metro Atlanta...a great show of just how many "different" things this city has to offer.

Fun for me, and I hope fun for you, included the Rhinoceros from Zoo Atlanta; a horse from the Riverview Carousel at Six Flags; and the Best Friend of Charleston—a train!

This brief video recounts the month's captured images, taking you all over the city to explore, learn, and relax.

Remember to subscribe to tourATLANTA's YouTube channel. You know you want to!

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

World Athletes Monument: An Artistic Tribute With Healing Powers

World Athletes Monument
World Athletes Monument
I remember vividly the World Athletes Monument being the place where people went to mourn when Princess Diana was killed in 1997. There were lots of flowers laid at the base and CNN reported an estimated 20,000 people went to the monument shortly after her passing. Why there, you ask?

Commissioned by the Prince of Wales Foundation for Architecture (the link to Princess Diana) the World Athletes Monument, sometimes still called the Prince of Wales’s Monument, was built for the 1996 Olympic Games to pay “tribute to the athletes and spirit of international athletic competition.”

Today, the Monument stands mostly unvisited, not due to its nature, but because it’s basically on an island in an area that receives high motor traffic and little pedestrian traffic.

Fortunately for Atlantans and visitors to our city, that high motor traffic gives thousands of eyes to the Monument's magnificence every day. I personally get to see it usually two or three times a week, sometimes more.

World Athletes Monument
World Athletes Monument
With five eight-foot high Atlas figures atop a thirty-five foot limestone base, it’s not a monument that you’re going to miss. And its solitary, triangular island home ensures a great view…no visual obstacles. In fact, there are quite a few fantastic backdrops, depending on where you’re viewing it from.

Some of those responsible for the creation and execution of the World Athletes Monument have rather impressive resumes.

Instrumental in the overall project was Rodney Mims Cook, Jr., descendant of two Atlanta Mayors, instrumental in the Save the Fox campaign, and more recently leader of the Millennium Gate project at Atlantic Station.

Cook has been described by some as “…a champion of beauty in the city of Atlanta.” I’m inclined to agree. I was very impressed with Mr. Cook when I met him and I love the monuments he's made possible for Atlanta. I'm sure we'll see more of him!

One of the artists of the World Athletes Monument was none other than Martin Dawe, founder of CherryLion Sculpture Studios and the artist responsible for Landing Gear in Buckhead and a life-size bronze of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

World Athletes Monument
World Athletes Monument
A number of years after Diana’s passing, the World Athletes Monument again became a place of healing for the citizens of Atlanta. Many Monument visitors opted to place small American flags instead of flowers to acknowledge the life of President Ronald Reagan, who passed in 2004.

As a city of humans, I’m glad to have a place where we can publicly mourn and as city that loves its sports, I’m glad to have the Monument to celebrate athletes. Few monuments, I think, have such a wide ranging role in giving to its citizens.

The Return

I’ve already said that I return to the World Athletes Monument on a weekly basis, but I’ve only been to the base once, so I definitely will return to the base. That really is the best view of the Monument. Just be careful for that Atlanta traffic when crossing the street to get to it.

Touring the World Athletes Monument

Date toured: Sunday, August 17, 2011
Location: Peachtree Street at West Peachtree Street (location and map)

World Athletes Monument
World Athletes Monument

ATLANTApix: World War I Memorial

Pershing Point Park World War I Memorial
Pershing Point Park World War I Memorial
Tucked away in a small triangle at the intersection of Peachtree Street and West Peachtree Street, Pershing Point Park, is a World War I memorial dedicated to the fallen heroes from Fulton County. This little known memorial has stood since 1920.

Pershing Point Park was named for General John J. Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces of World War I. It was December 3, 1918 that the Atlanta Parks Commission officially honored Pershing bestowing the triangular park with his namesake.

On September 20, 1920, the War Mothers' Service Star Legion, a group of mothers, sisters and wives of servicemen, dedicated the memorial, which lists the name of each soldier lost during the War.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ATLANTAvidz: Georgia Aquarium's Dolphins

The arrival of Georgia Aquarium's dolphins and its new dolphin show, AT&T Dolphin Tales (I love clever names!), was highly anticipated. I've been to see the show three times since its opening in April.

Although visitors may not make photos or video of the show (for the safety of the dolphins and the performers, not to mention the comfort of other attendees), there is a fantastic observation tank (video) just as you enter or depart the Dolphin Tales auditorium.

I recommend arriving early so you can see some of the dolphins prior to the show, but look for the tank...I totally missed it the first time I went. If you wait until the show is finished, there will be lots of other people trying to get a peek.

Of the 11 dolphins living at Georgia Aquarium, the show uses only 7-8 dolphins at a time (numbers told me by a docent). And viewers see at most five at a time (a very impressive five at a time!). 

The show is magnificent. It's theatrical, it's high-action, it's filled with special lighting and water effects, there are lots of dolphin tricks, you get to participate in a sing-along, and the trainers look like they're having the time of their lives.

Dolphin Tales stage
Dolphin Tales "stage"
The show is in two parts. Whether that's on purpose, I do not know. The first time I saw the show, I was about to stand up and leave because the (theatrical portion) show was obviously over. The "second half" is all dolphin tricks and interaction between the dolphins and trainers (my favorite part).

If you do arrive early, you'll get to see a video that tells about the construction of the exhibition (absolutely fascinating), as well as the selection of the lucky few dolphin trainers (they must have the best job in the world...they're definitely major enthusiasts).

The AT&T Dolphin Tales logo (the logo shown during the show) resonates with me in a special way. The stars inside the dolphin represent the constellation Delphinus (Latin for dolphin), which lies near the constellation Aquarius (I'm Aquarius and a space enthusiast). The only other space connection I can think of at the moment is the world-famous Douglas Adams' "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" (from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...a most brilliant literary series!).

It would not at all be a reach to say that this show has something for everyone. The first half is great for kids, the second half is highly entertaining for others...and I would venture to say that everyone loves dolphins.

Monday, August 29, 2011

ATLANTApix: Medals of Freedom

Presidential Medals of Freedom
Presidential Medals of Freedom
On August 9, 1999, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. This award is the nation's highest civilian honor.

These awards, among numerous others that the Carter's have received, are on display at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum. The Museum is surprisingly large, until you realize just how much Jimmy and Rosalynn have accomplished in their lives—and continue to accomplish.

Coming up at the Carter Presidential Library & Museum is a book signing by former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 7, 2011.

A few days earlier, on Saturday, the 3rd, a new temporary exhibition will go on display: “Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection.” The exhibition features more than 200 pins, many of which Secretary Albright wore to communicate messages during her diplomatic tenure.

ATLANTApix and ATLANTAvidz of the tourATLANTA blog features a daily photo or video relative to Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Six Flags Over Georgia: Up, Down, Upside-down…It’s All Fun!

With Sylvester and Daffy
With Sylvester and Daffy
I went with a friend last weekend to Six Flags Over Georgia. It was my first time in more than a decade and it was more fun than I’ve ever had being tossed around, being held upside-down, and being dropped hundreds of feet.

We arrived early to beat the lines (a great tip from fellow blogger Sue at “Field Trips with Sue”). A wise strategy, but for some odd reason, the lines never got crazy long. In fact, we were able to ride in the front car of the first four roller coasters we got on, with little or zero waiting!

Sue recommends arriving early and heading to the back of the park first. That strategy should ensure the least amount of time spent waiting in line, at least early in the day.

While great advice, I was so ready to ride their newest roller coaster—the Dare Devil Dive Coaster—that we headed straight for that one…well, right after a photo-op with Sylvester and Daffy, that is.

Dare Devil Dive Coaster
Dare Devil Dive Coaster
I had warned my friend that I would be making photos like a first-time tourist and gave him the option to “refocus” me on the fun at hand should I get too engrossed in photo making and video taking. Oh, and I tweeted throughout the day, too. My friend graciously let me do my thing.

We got to Dare Devil, passing a few other coasters and screaming riders, and miraculously there were only a few people in line! We waited one load-in and then we were on the ride.
The cool feature about Dare Devil is its highest drop. It doesn’t go straight down…it actually dives more than 90 degrees AND it drops faster than gravity!

What a rush!

Mind Bender
Mind Bender
While in that corner of the Park, we rode Batman: The Ride, Mind Bender, and The Georgia Scorcher.

At this point, the cereal I’d had for breakfast was wearing off, but I wasn’t about to blockade the onslaught of roller coasters…they were, after all, the reason we were there.

The fifth coaster: Goliath! Its name tells you the most important aspect you need to know about this coaster. Having been in the front seat of the first four coasters, we were ready to change things up a bit. For Goliath, we took the very back seat.

We got some amazing views of the Atlanta skyline as well as the jostling heads in front of us…both with their respective entertainment values.

On the way to the back of the Park, we stopped for a Diet Coke and some fries, to settle my nausea, which also positioned us get a couple more coasters in before lunch.

Before our next roller coaster ride, my friend wanted to ride the Wheelie. I instantly had nightmarish flashbacks to childhood. I recalled riding the Himalaya in Jacksonville, Florida…a ride that put me in shock for about 20 minutes, much to the dismay of my mother.

Marvin the Martian
Marvin the Martian
But, being the adventurer that I am, as well as a good sport (my friend was after all putting up with my camera, video camera, tweeting, etc.), I got on board. 

Let’s just say that I had to sit for a few minutes, but only a few, after getting off the Wheelie. Not a personal favorite, but my friend loved the spinning, up and down, spinning, up and down, spinning…

After a brief respite from spinning, up and down, we headed to Ninja. I lived in Atlanta when Ninja first opened and remember that on the first visit to the Park that summer, that was the first coaster I rode…so, maybe in some ways I am a creature of habit.

Ninja was as much fun as I remembered and it’s weathered the years quite well, other than a little fading of her once bright red paint. 

I was actually surprised at just how smooth the newer coasters ride compared to the ones that have been around for decades, especially the wooden ones. Major improvements in coaster technology and design, I suppose. It’s appreciated whatever it is. It’s great to concentrate on the sensations the ride offers instead of wondering if my doctor is available to treat a case of whiplash. Thanks for the upgrades, Six Flags!

Riverview Carousel
Riverview Carousel
For lunch we went to Big Mo’s On The Square for some “Southern fried chicken,” taking the “When in Rome” approach. I was very impressed with how polite and friendly the Park staff were…and entertaining too.

We’d passed the Riverview Carousel earlier and I’d confessed to my friend that I’m just a big kid when it comes to things like that. 

Using the ruse of needing photographs for tourATLANTA, I lured him to the Carousel. Of course we ended up riding…it’d be such a shame to go all that way and not enjoy it!

The Riverview Carousel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1908 for Riverview Park in Chicago, Illinois. It has 70 wooden horses of varying styles and several other ride options. It is one of only a few five-abreast carousels in the world. And it’s absolutely stunning.

Superman: Ultimate Flight
Superman: Ultimate Flight
Our seventh roller coaster was Superman: Ultimate Flight. This one was super-cool…you ride with your body facing the ground! It’s like you’re flying…you just have some major braces holding you in place ensuring you remain buoyant in mid-air throughout the “flight.”

Bumper cars. Does one even have to say how much fun bumper cars are? It was the one ride that as soon as it was over, practically every kid in the place jumped out and ran as quickly as they could to get back in line for another go.

Probably one of my favorite rides after this visit to Six Flags is Acrophobia, which is the name for the condition suffered by those who have a horrible fear of heights. Aptly named, Acrophobia towers 400 feet high, higher than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Rising from the ground, like the great Phoenix, the “donut” of riders spins around. Again, some great views of the Atlanta skyline were given, undoubtedly to distract us from the ascent, which was abruptly interrupted when we reached the top and our chairs were tilted 15 degrees…toward the ground!

The Great American Scream Machine
The Great American Scream Machine
On the way up, the ride operator sings cute little songs. (Almost) all the songs end with, “Goodbye!” after which the clamping mechanism is released and the rest of the Park is treated to blood-curdling screams of riders who are very soon to be reacquainted with the ground. This ride is so much fun we went back for another turn later.

Well, we decided we couldn’t leave the Park without riding The Great American Scream Machine…no matter how old she is. Probably the roughest ride in the Park, it was great to ride again. There’s something very settling about nostalgia.

With Speedy and Pepe
With Speedy and Pepe
Fatigue creeping into the day, we headed toward the main gate. But we weren’t quite done. The Georgia Cyclone was right next to the front gate, so it became part of our exit strategy.

Even with all the photos (hundreds), the video, and the tweets, I don’t remember every ride and diversion we took, but included were: a train ride, a show by the Looney Tunes characters, more photos with Looney Tunes characters, ice cream, Buggs Bunny World, and a ride through the Monster Mansion.

We’d said at the beginning that we’d forego the water rides available to us, but that if we decided we wanted to go on any, it would be toward the end of the day. Now it was the end of the day but instead of riding a water ride, we went back for that second ride on Acrophobia…an exhilarating way to end our day at Six Flags.

The Return

Am I ready, willing, and able to have my world turned upside down again? Bring it on! I love roller coasters and other fans of them will have a blast at Six Flags Over Georgia.

I’ll probably go back in October (1st-30th) for their Fright Fest and I’m already looking forward to the opening next spring.

Visiting Six Flags Over Georgia

Date toured: Sunday, August 21, 2011
Location: 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell, GA (directions and map)
Parking: Pay parking onsite
Cost: A one-day pass is $39.99, but there are online discounts and coupons all over town!
Hours: Vary by season, closed November-February

Ya'll come back!
Ya'll come back!